2016 May 02: Getting log #10 from the neighbor

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that the 6 acres next to ours is under contract, and the new owner doesn’t want me to cut logs from there at this time. So, I asked the guy right next to me- he’s got a plot of trees 50′ x 200′. 90% of the trees are not tall enough, but I asked him about the 10% that are- he said he’d rather keep them. That’s fine. On the other side of my property is a 30′ x 200′ plot of trees- same story- about 90% not usable. But the owner lives in Georgia, and I’ve yet to contact her.

Almost across the street from me is a couple in their 80’s. They used to own most of the land in the area, three of their kids live around the corner, and I’ve met all of them- and they are all super nice people. One of them said he wants to get rid of 15 trees on his property. They live down a street that cuts off of my street.

I took the tractor down there, and he showed me the ones he wants gone. I cut one on Thursday, but it is another monster log – more than 24″ at the base. Anyway, that size makes it difficult for my saw to make a clean cut. I planned on felling it NNW, but the saw got bound up. The neighbor lent me a wedge, and I pounded it into the cut. But the darn thing wouldn’t budge. I pulled the saw out and cut some more.

Youtube has some cool videos of how to fell a tree. The one on using the backcut on a tree to steer the fall direction says it’s possible to steer the fall direction, but doesn’t say how to do it.

Back to the cut- I cut almost all the way through the tree before it started to fall. Remember how I wanted it to fall NNW? It started to twist as it fell, and did almost a 180- and ended up falling SE. It took out the guy’s laundry line. His wife came out and said they never use it anyway. I was shocked. I’m not sure how it could fall that way. I’m really gun shy now as I try to figure this out.

But having it fall the wrong way made it impossible to turn around before I got it to my property. I now had to haul the heavy end with the tractor, which is the wrong way to do it.

I spent Thursday cleaning up branches. The weather forecast Friday called for dangerous thunderstorms and damaging hail starting at 6 PM, so as soon as I got off work, I got out there and cleaned up the rest of the branches. I got the trailer under the light end, then picked up the heavy end and drove out onto the road. The trailer wouldn’t cooperate (I didn’t tie down the log), so it kept turning to one side and ended up in a ditch. It started to rain. I got it out of the ditch and reloaded the log, and kept going. I had two big corners: one right turn onto the main road, then a left turn onto my property. The tree was 55 feet long. I made the right turn ok, but then the trailer wanted to keep turning, and ended up in another ditch.

The rain was really coming down now, but I was already committed- I was blocking traffic in both directions. I used the tractor to push the log so it was only blocking one lane, then Cochise came out and really gave me a lot of help. I dumped the trailer over, but when I tried to pull the log out from under it, a branch on the log kept catching on the lip of the trailer. I waited for traffic to clear, then hooked up the chain to the trailer. Waited for traffic to clear again (this road is NOT this busy usually), then pulled the trailer out of the ditch. Waited for traffic to clear again, then tried to pull the log, but the end was still in the ditch. Waited for traffic to clear, trying not to get hit by lightning, then try again by pulling the end of the log out of the ditch.

Waited for traffic to clear yet again, and now the log was back on the road. Forget the trailer- with the rain, the road is now slick enough to just drag the log down the road- only had 200 feet to go to my driveway. Lightning still striking everywhere. Cochise says just go for it, and hit the driveway straight on- don’t worry about the log going into the ditch – just drag it through.

My wife was at home saying a prayer for my safety.

Neighbors were looking out their windows. I started for the driveway, but the heavy end was lifting the steering wheels off the ground, and I almost overshot the driveway- couldn’t turn with the wheels almost up in the air. I almost rolled the tractor into the 5 foot deep ditch in front of my property. But in that instant, I had the idea to drop the hydraulic lift holding the log, which instantly transferred the weight of the tractor to the steering wheels, and threw the tractor 2 feet to the left- keeping me from rolling. At the same time, I gunned the throttle, and powered over the culvert pipe with only 3 wheels on the ground, and praying that the right rear wheel doesn’t catch on the edge of the ditch- which would roll the tractor, and probably kill me. The neighbors are thinking, “This guy is nuts!”

I was on my property. I threw the tractor in 5th gear, and muscled my way over to the stacking logs, then dropped the log on the ground next to them. I couldn’t hear the thunder over the roar of that diesel engine, but I could see lightning dancing around in the sky. I went and got the trailer, parked the tractor, then got my tools and went home.

Monster log #2, A.K.A. “Log #10” is ready to peel.

Next time: tie ropes to the trees to force them to fall the right direction.


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Just a regular guy from Utah, now living in Alabama, involved in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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